by Olena

Healthy Zucchini Brownies

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 122 votes

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Zucchini Brownies are so fudgy and made healthy with sneaky veggies, whole wheat flour and no refined sugar. They are so rich and chocolaty, no will complain (or even know) they are eating healthy brownies, trust me. These super moist, fudge like brownies will be your new favorite dessert that will be requested over and over again!

We love zucchini desserts around here like this zucchini bread, lemon zucchini bread and pumpkin zucchini cake. It’s the perfect vegetable to sneak into desserts because of it’s mild taste and its high water ratio keeps breads, muffins, cakes and brownies moist without ever fear of being dry!

3 zucchini brownies stacked on top of each other

Best Ever Zucchini Brownies

These zucchini brownies are pure delight! Fudgy, healthy and easy. They do taste like real brownies while made with whole foods – perfect for even a healthy midday snack!

Because zucchini is a seasonal item, I make zucchini brownies and no bake brownies during summer months. In winter, you can find me cooking batches of Instant Pot black beans and whipping up this black bean brownie recipe. And no one complains, when I make almond flour brownies, either!

Everyone in my household was particularly excited for the re-do of healthy brownies with zucchini. Kids want to eat zucchini. Pinch me. 🙂 Let’s dive in!

Why This Healthy Zucchini Brownies Recipe Works?

  • Simple ingredients: No fancy ingredients here – whole wheat flour, maple syrup (or honey), eggs, cocao (or cocoa) powder, zucchini…clean ingredients make the best food.
  • Healthy zucchini dessert: Whole grains, veggies and no refined sugar…you could almost get away eating these at every meal! (But do remember that variety is the spice of life!)
  • So easy to make: No wringing out your shredded zucchini for hours, just a quick squeeze and into the bowl they go! And did I mention, you can make this all in one bowl?
  • Keeps well: They actually get fudgier the next day (cue the swoon!). You can store your healthy brownies in the refrigerator up to a week – although ours never last that long!
healthy brownies on a platter

Ingredients for Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

  • Zucchini and an egg: Please read further about zucchini as it’s important.
  • Whole wheat or spelt flour: You can use only whole wheat or spelt flour. Any gluten free flour will not work because this zucchini brownie recipe relies on gluten in dough to rise. All purpose flour acts differently than whole wheat flour too. If you are not eating grains, make my gluten free brownie recipe then.
  • Liquid sweetener: You can use any liquid sweetener like maple syrup, honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc. Baking is a science and the ratio of dry to liquid is important and can’t be offset.
  • Coconut oil: You can use any mild tasting oil like avocado oil. Or basically any oil you like the taste of. However, because coconut oil is solid, zucchini brownies will be a tad more fudgy as they cool and oil becomes solid again after baking. Kind of like with coconut oil fudge and chocolate coconut balls.
  • Cacao powder: More common cocoa powder is OK. It’s just more processed where as cacao powder is considered a healthy choice with more antioxidants and nutrients.

How to Make Healthy Zucchini Brownies

Prepping Zucchini for Brownies

All zucchini recipes use different techniques, so please read.

  • Just a gentle mini squeeze: We do not squeeze out zucchini completely as we need water contained in zucchini to make brownies moist and fudgy.

Do not salt zucchini or squeeze excessively to remove excess water. The water in the zucchini is what gives these brownies their moist fudgy texture!

  • Grating zucchini: Grate zucchini on a medium size holes side of grater. Not large but not tiny holes. This helps with “nobody will be able to tell brownies contain sneaky veggies”. Place zucchini in a colander while you are getting other ingredients ready.
  • Measuring: Do not overpack your measuring cup with zucchini because even extra 1/4 cup increases baking time.
prepping zucchini for brownies

Make Healthy Brownie Batter

  • Prep baking dish: I highly recommend to line dish with parchment paper for easy removal.
  • Prep zucchini by shredding on medium size hole side of grater and giving a gentle squeeze.
  • Melt coconut oil: Measure oil in liquid state. I recommend not to make oil very hot so it doesn’t “cook” the egg in batter.
  • Liquids: Whisk all liquids first and then add and whisk your leavening agents and cacao powder until “chocolate sauce” consistency.
  • Finishing batter: Incorporate zucchini first and only then flour.

Baking This Chocolate Zucchini Dessert

  • Baking and when to remove: Bake for 28 minutes at 375 degrees F preheated oven. Top should be soft and glossy and the centre not too jiggly.
  • Do not over bake as brownies will have more of a chocolate cake consistency. A toothpick inserted has to come out somewhat not clean. If centre is too jiggly bake a bit more, ovens vary.

Fudgy brownies might seem slightly undercooked when you test them. If you insert a toothpick into the centre of the brownies pan it should come out with some damp crumbs attached. If you shake the pan and center is not wiggly, your zucchini fudgy brownies are set!

  • Cool properly: Let brownies cool in the pan for about an hour. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely.

Brownies become fudgier next day. Please read below.

Tips for Best Results

  • Use large or small zucchini: The size of the zucchini doesn’t matter, just the amount.
  • A word about baseball bat sized zucchini: Please do remove large seeds before grating as they could have a bitter taste!
  • Don’t peel the zucchini: It’s so thin no one will notice plus researchers say it has the highest level of antioxidants. Yeah!
  • Do not over bake: I can’t repeat this enough! Cook until just the center is set. Fudgy brownies is what we want, not cake brownies.
  • Do cool brownies in the pan: This helps them ‘set up’, you get a cleaner cut and it allows the chocolate brownie taste to really develop.

FAQs

What makes brownies fudgy?

A perfect fudgy brownie is moist and gooey and resemble a fudge like texture! When you add more flour and a leavening agent such as baking powder, you will have a cake like brownie. This recipe uses only 1 cup flour, no baking powder and quite an abundance of moist ingredients (coconut oil, zucchini, eggs) which results in a healthy fudgy brownie!

How do you make healthy brownies from scratch?

Follow this easy recipe for zucchini brownies that uses unrefined white sugar, hidden veg and whole grain flour.

Can I taste the zucchini in zucchini brownies?

No you can’t! That is the beauty of zucchini brownies.

Now, I have had readers ask about how they can hide the zucchini strands from their little ones even further and this is what I have recommended: Blend zucchini first by itself and drain a bit of water, then add the rest of ingredients and when blended it should work. Or shred zucchini, drain a bit and then blend. More work though but maybe better to ensure recipe’s success. Zucchini banana chocolate chunks muffins calls for not squeezed zucchini at all, so this does work.

Can I replace egg with applesauce?

No, in this recipe egg is crucial. When I made these brownies without an egg, they were really like a cake. It will be the same issue with applesauce.

Can I swap the oil for pumpkin in this healthy brownie recipe?

I have not tested that, but one reader found success using this method – they swapped the oil for purée pumpkin and had good results. Let me know how it turns out if you try this.

Should I weigh my zucchini before adding to the recipe?

You could, but you don’t need to! Zucchini is not like flour in that it will throw off recipe by much if you use a little more/little less. Just don’t pack zucchini tightly and you will be fine!

Can I use a different flour for healthy zucchini brownies?

Unfortunately for this recipe, no. I have had many readers ask if they can use coconut flour, and that will not work (but feel free to make these chocolate coconut flour muffins for a chocolate fix). A reader used rice flour, and it worked for her, but I cannot recommend that as I have not tested it.

Can I double the recipe?

Definitely and many readers have! You may need to increase the baking time by a few minutes, so keep on your oven.

Serving Recommendations

Making Healthy Brownies with Zucchini in Advance

Storing and making brownies more fudgy: Zucchini brownies taste even better the next day as they settle and cool off. That’s when brownies become really fudgy as coconut oil solidifies and settles. At first brownies might look like cake. I leave them on a plate covered with kitchen towel on a counter overnight or for another night. Then in the fridge they go.

Refrigerate past 24 hrs: Since zucchini is a summer vegetable this is when many people make this zucchini brownie recipe. If it’s too hot outside I refrigerate brownies by the end of the day I baked them. And for up to a week.

Freezing brownies: Freeze brownies in an airtight container for up to 3 – 4 months. I would be surprised if you have any left to freeze. 🙂

Crust? There is no such obvious crust on healthy brownies as with their butter and sugar counterpart. However, if you cut and place brownies on a plate, their sides and edges will dry up a bit overnight.

More Healthy Dessert Recipes

Need more zucchini recipes? Browse our collection of 45 zucchini recipes!

zucchini brownies
Healthy Zucchini Brownies

Best Ever Zucchini Brownies {Healthy & Fudgy}

Zucchini Brownies are so fudgy and made healthy with sneaky veggies, whole wheat flour and no refined sugar. They are so rich and chocolaty, no will complain (or even know) they are eating healthy brownies, trust me. These super moist, fudge like brownies will be your new favorite dessert that will be requested over and over again!
4.94 from 122 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
Servings: 16 brownies
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place zucchini in a colander while you are getting other ingredients ready.
    Healthy Zucchini Brownies
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 8 x 8 baking dish with unbleached parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, add egg, oil, maple syrup and pure vanilla extract; whisk to combine.
  • Add cacao powder, baking soda and salt; whisk until well mixed.
    Healthy Zucchini Brownies
  • Give zucchini a gentle squeeze but do not ring out completely, add to a bowl and stir.
    Healthy Zucchini Brownies
  • Add flour and mix gently until combined.
    Healthy Zucchini Brownies
  • Transfer batter into prepared baking dish and level with spatula. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the centre is barely jiggly. Do not over bake as brownies will have more of a cake consistency. A toothpick inserted has to come out somewhat not clean. If centre is too jiggly bake a bit more – ovens vary.
    Healthy Zucchini Brownies
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for about an hour. Lift by the parchment paper flaps and transfer to a cooling rack to cool off completely.
    Healthy Zucchini Brownies
  • Cut into 16 squares.

Store 1st day: Brownies become fudgier the next day, especially if stored cut up and separated or refrigerated. I leave them on a plate covered with kitchen towel on a counter overnight.

    Store past 24 hrs: In a glass airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 4 days. If it’s hot outside, refrigerate for up to a week.

      Freeze for up to 3 – 4 months.

        Video

        Notes

        Recipe re-tested and updated with less baking soda in Jan 2021 so brownies come out less cakey and more fudgy.
        • Flour – You can use only whole wheat or spelt flour. Any gluten free flour will not work because it doesn’t have gluten in it. This zucchini brownie recipe relies on gluten in dough to rise. All purpose flour acts differently than whole wheat flour too. So please stay the course for successful healthy brownies.:)
        • Maple syrup – You can replace only with liquid sweetener like honey, agave, brown rice syrup etc. Baking is a science and the ratio of dry : liquid is important and can’t be offset.
        • Coconut oil – You can use any mild tasting oil like avocado oil. Or basically any oil you like the taste of. Oil is oil. One thing though. Because coconut oil is solid, zucchini brownies will be a tad more fudgy as it cools down and becomes solid again after baking.
        • Cacao powder – More common cocoa powder is OK. It’s just more processed where as cacao powder is considered a healthy choice with more antioxidants and nutrients.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1brownie | Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 47IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
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